In recognition of “International Day of Older Persons,” sometimes called “Senior Day,” a local nonprofit is launching an awareness campaign called “Embrace Our Elderly” during the month of October.
“We want to shine a light on the hundreds of elderly living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that don’t have family to visit them,” explained Randy Lanham, who is organizing Embrace Our Elderly through VolunteerOwensboro.com. Lanham started the website for the purpose of connecting people with volunteer opportunities at nonprofits and other organizations in and around Owensboro. It was originally known as “helpsomeone.us,” but was recently renamed and rebranded with a new website.
Now under its new name, Embrace Our Elderly is one of the first initiatives of VolunteerOwensboro.com.
“I think more people would volunteer if the awareness was there,” Lanham said. “A lot of people get nervous about making a cold call because they don’t know what to expect.”
With that in mind, one of the initiatives of VolunteerOwensboro.com is producing promo videos to help raise awareness of the need for volunteers, which Lanham believes will help eliminate the fear of the unknown at the same time.
“Our goal is to try and get promo videos made for 14 facilities in the Owensboro area that we are working with, so that people can get a better idea of what they’re going into by volunteering,” Lanham said.
The five-minute promo videos are meant to highlight each facility and to show potential volunteers what they can expect to experience. Said Lanham, “The videos are designed to be a 360-degree view of the entire volunteer experience to make it as easy as possible to volunteer, whether as a family, a church group, or individually.”
The campaign is gaining support in the community. Time Warner channel 8 will air the promotional videos, and Cromwell Radio is sponsoring the Embrace Our Elderly campaign by running public service announcements on all seven of their stations.
To take it one step further, VolunteerOwensboro.com is attempting to set up an open house with live music at each of the 14 nursing home and assisted living facilities listed on their website. At the time of this printing, videos have already been made and posted on the website featuring Bishop Soenneker Home (Hwy 144, Philpot), Heritage Place (3362 Buckland Sq.) and Owensboro Center (1205 Leitchfield Rd.). All three of those locations already have open houses planned for October 22 from 5-7 p.m., along with the Hermitage (1614 W. Parrish).
Lanham is still working with several other facilities to schedule additional open houses. Anyone interested in volunteering or attending one of the open houses should check the website for updates.
Those who work in nursing homes and assisted living facilities say visits from volunteers are healthy for the body, mind and soul of the residents. Mary Barnett, who works at Heritage Place, has seen firsthand the effects that volunteer visits can have on her clients.
“When volunteers take the time to visit, you can see the appreciation in the faces of the clients. They light up! But I also can tell that the volunteers get as much out of it as our clients. It’s amazing what you can learn from talking with clients,” Barnett said.
Open Houses: Thursday, October 22nd, 5 – 7 p.m.
Bishop Soenneker, Heritage Place, The Hermitage, and Owensboro Center. More TBA